Military retakes strategic Banggolo bridge in Marawi

Marawi City (CNN Philippines, September 1) — The military has retaken the strategic Banggolo bridge (Bayabao bridge) in Marawi City, the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) confirmed on Friday.

WesMinCom Chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez said the bridge is vital to their military operations against the Maute group.

The Banggolo bridge is one of three strategic bridges in Marawi, and whoever has control of these bridges gains the upper hand in the war, Galvez said.

With the retaking of the bridge, more supplies can come in for the soldiers and reinforcement of troops can come faster.

The government side paid a heavy price for the battle of the Banggolo Bridge as three soldiers were killed while 52 others were wounded.

Authorities said the soldiers died on Thursday due to the explosions caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) left by the Maute members.

Five Maute fighters were also killed in the clash.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigader General Restituto Padilla said fighting between the soldiers and some 40 Maute fighters holed up in a half-a-square kilometer inside the ruined city is expected to intensify as the war nears its end.

"Ngayon na tayo ay nagkakaroon na ng final push, inaasahan natin na mas mas maigting pa nilang ilalatag itong mga ganitong klase ng mga patibong," he said.

[Translation: Now that we are at our final push, we expect there will be more traps.]

He added, "Ine-expect natin na mas magiging maigting ang kanilang depensa at mas magiging matindi ang labanan."

[Translation: We expect the enemy's defense to strengthen and the fighting to intensify.]

Related: 3 soldiers killed, 52 troops wounded in Marawi on eve of Eid'l Adha – military

Government troops have earlier retaken the Mapandi Bridge, which was temporarily opened to media on Wednesday.

Only one bridge, Raya Madaya, near Lanao Lake has yet to be retaken by the military.

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The military also continues efforts to retake the Bato Ali Mosque, one of the three remaining mosques that serve as a stronghold for Maute.

The battle to retake Marawi has been ongoing for more than three months. Almost 800 civilians, soldiers, and Maute fighters have been killed since May.